Love it or hate it, the play-in tournament has made it so that almost every NBA game in April still has playoff implications. All seven NBA games on Thursday night see at least one team fighting for a better position in the playoffs or play-in tournament, while a trio of games feature both teams still trying to sort out their seeding. We’ve got picks for all three of those games.
Celtics @ Bucks
The Bet: Celtics +6 (-110, Fox Bet)
The game of the night sees the Boston Celtics visiting the Milwaukee Bucks with the winner getting pole position for the second seed in the East.
Whether that’s a reward or not is a good question: the second seed could play the Brooklyn Nets, or the Cavs or Hawks, while the third and fourth seeds in the East will get Toronto and Chicago.
Boston hasn’t just been winning, the Celtics have been destroying teams, beating the Wizards and Bulls by a combined 63 points. In fact, six of Boston’s last eight wins have been by 20+ points.
The Bucks are coming off their own 20+ point win, over Chicago. Milwaukee has won 13 of its last 18 and has covered in 11 of its last 16.
It’s not clear that the Celtics should be underdogs against any team in the league right now, so grab those points while you can tonight, because Boston might not see another +5.5 line for awhile.
The Sixers are in a tie for third place in the East, one half game behind Boston for second place. The Raptors are 1.5 games up on Chicago and are likely to end up in the fifth spot in the East.
The road team has actually won all three contests between these teams this season.
Both teams are playing well; Toronto has won five of their last six games while the 76ers have won three in a row. OG Anunoby being questionable with a thigh injury is the tiebreaker here, we’re going with the Sixers.
Spurs @ Wolves
The Bet: Wolves -8 (-110, Unibet)
The San Antonio Spurs need to win out and hope for a Pelicans loss if they want to host the 9-10 play-in tournament game. The Minnesota Timberwolves needs to win its last two games and have Denver lose its last two games, or it will be stuck hosting the 7-8 play-in tournament game.
San Antonio won the first game between the teams this season but Minnesota has won the past two by double digits.
The Spurs’ lone all-star Dejounte Murray is still out on Thursday night as he is suffering from a non-COVID illness.
San Antonio overtook the Lakers in the play-in bracket by winning three straight and seven of their last eight, including an impressive upset win over the Nuggets on Tuesday. San Antonio’s NBA Finals futures odds might still be +50000 but they will be thrilled to just make the play-in tournament after being sellers at the trade deadline.
Minnesota is coming off a rough loss to the Wizards but this is a matchup that Minnesota has dominated in recent seasons. The Wolves have covered in seven straight against the Spurs and we think they’ll make it eight.